Features

40 Years of James Caldwell High School

By: Jessica Melnikoff

James Caldwell High School has changed immensely over the past 40 years. We all know that life was different in the 1980s compared to now. As society has changed, the dynamic of the school has also developed over the decades. In the past two years, Mrs. Callaghan and Mr. Edwards have been recognized for their 40 years of service at the district. These two teachers offer a unique, first-hand, perspective on how James Caldwell High School has evolved over the past 40 years. 

Photo Courtesy of The Clarion 1984

The first interview with Mrs. Callaghan:

Jessica: “In a few words, how would you describe what James Caldwell was like in the 1980s?”

Photo Courtesy of The Clarion 1984

Mrs. Callaghan: “It was a little bit wilder and freer. Not that this was a good thing. Kids did things that we would consider pretty outrageous today.”

Jessica: “How has the Cheerleading team changed over the past 40 years?”

Mrs. Callaghan: “Back when I first started working here, cheerleading was much more ‘stomp it shake it.’ In order to make the team, you had to be able to do a flying split. I can’t tell you how many kids got hurt.”

Jessica: “What is, in your opinion, the most significant change that our school has gone through?”

Mrs. Callaghan: “The inclusion of technology. Everything now is computer-based. To even think last year we had to teach through computers via zoom. Physically, the building has changed a lot. The library was totally different, there were no porticos, Bonnel field was not turf.”

Jessica: “How has student behavior in the classroom changed?”

Mrs. Callaghan: “It’s less extraverted and more introverted towards cell phones. Kids are more passive nowadays. Pre-cellphones, kids would talk to each other and pass notes. Now they text each other and share memes.”

The second interview with Mr. Edwards: 

Photo Courtesy of The Clarion 1982

Jessica: “How has the increase in technology over the past 40 years affected your teaching?”

Mr. Edwards: “Are our copy machines considered technology? You can definitely do more things now. It had a big impact on mathematics classrooms. Calculators are better now. The computers in the past few years changed and it got us through the COVID year. You almost had to program the old computers to get them to work. For me making my lessons up, computers have helped, and it’s a lot less painful for students. Kids have grown into this technology. I have been able to see amazing things like the copy machine, cellphones, computers develop. Kids don’t understand how awesome that stuff is. It makes school a lot easier.”

Jessica: “What is your favorite teaching memory?”

Mr. Edwards: “I think that it’s any time overall as a teacher when that kid accomplishes something they didn’t think they can do. But you see them work hard and get what they want or get into the college that they wanted to go to. That’s what makes my day.” 

Over the past 40 years our school has grown into what it is today. Technology has dramatically improved the quality of education. Our society has given people more of an opportunity to participate in sports, including the expansion of sports for female athletes. And overall, James Caldwell has evolved into a better learning environment for students. 

Photo Courtesy of The Clarion 1982

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